THE MIND GAMES
Australia: 28th March 2013; USA 29th March UK 29th MarchOther Countries: Release Information
Stephenie Meyer certainly loves romantic conflict. The author of the best-selling ‘Twilight Saga’ books has done for young female readers and their mothers what Harry Potter did for nine-year olds. It brought them to read—no mean feat in this technology age where interacting with fantasy worlds with your thumbs is considered far more exciting than with words and imagination.
Whilst reviewers love to critique the quality of the 'Twilight' books and the film adaptations, her fans agree to disagree and continue to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on her products.
So, it was always a given that her other speculative fiction work, ‘The Host’ would become a film to fill the hole created with the conclusion of the ‘Twilight Saga’.
‘The Host’, directed and adapted by Andrew Niccol, along with a highly respected production team and multi-awarded cast including William Hurt, Frances Fisher, Diane Kruger in supporting roles for the young, relatively unknown leads, is not a film for the discerning film-goer who desires a deep, well-fashioned script with sub-plots that will leave them marvelling at the mastery of the film-makers.
However, it isn’t made for us cinephiles. It is for the young—and not so young, if my fellow soccer-mom friends are anything to go by—fans of the novel and this fantasy romance sub-genre. There are millions of these consumers out there and they are prepared to pay to read these books and watch the films and we shouldn’t dissuade them. They make the publishing and film industry go round.
Stephenie Meyer said she came upon the idea for the 2008 ‘The Host’ (which spent 26 weeks at No. 1 on The New York Times bestseller list and 36 weeks on the Los Angeles Times bestseller list) whilst driving through the desert between Phoenix and Salt Lake City. “I came on the idea of two personalities in one body. They are both in love with different people, which creates a great deal of conflict. I like messy relationships. They’re fun to work through.”
In this story, our heroine Melanie (Saoirse Ronan) is thrown into conflict when Earth is invaded by an alien race. The invaders do not arrive with laser guns and drones but instead gently place their souls inside their hosts, taking over their bodies. They are ‘peaceful’ beings and create harmony and balance in the assumed human race. For the record, because all aliens take over our planet because we “kill each other”, I would like to state I am not one of the violent ones, so surely I should be allowed to keep my body.
When Melanie, one of the last remaining humans, is captured and receives the soul of Wanderer (Wanda), she refuses to relinquish her body to the invader. So begins a tussle of spirit (and voiceover). Before her capture Melanie was on the run with her little brother Jamie (Chandler Canterbury) and another survivor Jared Howe (Max Irons). Jared and Melanie become lovers and it is this love, and her promise to Jamie that she will return to him, that imbues her with the strength to fight Wanda’s control.
Wanda, though, finds that she cannot inhabit Melanie’s body and not be moved by her strong emotions and memories. This desire causes them to set out on a dangerous journey to reunite with Melanie’s loved ones. What they find will not be the joyful reunion either imagined.
If you are not a fan of YA books and the fantasy genre, then this film is not for you. However, there are a lot more like this on the way with three more ‘’Hunger Games’ adaptations, ‘Warm Bodies’, ‘Divergent’, and ‘Pure’ to name a few. So get used to the idea of star-crossed supernatural romances; there is an invasion coming to a box-office near you and it will be hard to avoid.